Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Mystery of the Acorns

For some reason this acorn issue has been gnawing away at me all week, ever since I saw this post, on Looking2Live's blog and this one, on the Washington Gardener blog. I can't say that I'd noticed any acorns, or lack of acorns for that matter, but what I had noticed was that the squirrels in my yard were becoming very fat and they've been extremely busy simultaneously eating and burying things that are distinctly bigger than acorns. Maybe they are black walnuts? Today I finally had a chance to investigate this acorn mystery and this is what I found under the oak tree out back:

So we actually do have some acorns, but they are pretty small. Unless you look really closely they kind of just look like random chips of loose bark. Meanwhile the frantic chewing continues:

About ten seconds after I filmed the chewing action my backyard suddenly turned into Silver Spring's answer to the Serengeti:

Notice the chewed up shrubbery at the end of this video. That is what the deer do out way out here in the suburbs. And my voice is hoarse from inhaling wallboard dust all morning.

As I was heading off to my rehearsals I spied an interesting bird up on the power line so I rolled open my sun roof and took this picture:

It looks like some kind of hawk and and it really was that color up there glowing in the afternoon sun. It almost looks fake - sometimes my camera seems to brighten the colors by all by itself, depending on the lighting. So maybe this bird is a "Golden Hawk?" I have no idea.

It's kind of strange that so many different animals presented themselves to me for photo-ops today. Maybe I should have combined this post with the one I made earlier today. I could have called it "Wallboard and Wildlife!"


WashingtonGardener said...

Cyndy -

Love the squirrel and deer video - lots of good action and plenty of evidence that NONE of them are starving from lack of acorns.

BTW I think you are a shoe-in for our annual Photo Contest - check it out

Cyndy said...

Thanks so much for the nice compliment! I looked at the rules and I think I've probably compressed most of the pictures I've posted on this blog to a smaller size than what qualifies for your contest. I guess that was dumb but I didn't really have any additional plans for them. Oh well.

I'll see if I have any that qualify - maybe the original versions are buried somewhere inside my computer.

LP said...

We were sitting in the living room marveling at the number of doves on the fence, feeder, and ground (10-12) when all of a sudden they all flew away REALLY fast - except for the one that flew straight into the picture window and bounced off, leaving a number of chest feathers on the window and in the air.

The reason, we realized, was a hawk just like yours, sitting on the back fence. He was eyeballing a nearby squirrel, evaluating snack potential, I guess, when he spotted something else and flew off. He was pretty. And BIG.

P.S. The dove that hit the window flew away again, so presumably he was okay.

Barbara said...

I feel like an idiot re-reporting the WaPo story when WashingtonGardener says it ain't so! But I swear there are still no acorns in my yard and last year it was ankle deep. I haven't seen nearly as many squirrels either, so maybe they've moved on to greener pastures or whatever that translates into in squirrel language.

Cyndy said...

Tom - you have a lot of nature in your yard! I think it must be because of the pond.

Barbara - The acorns we have are definitely smaller this year.
Maybe your squirrels went to look for acorns somewhere else since your tree didn't make any this year.

LP said...

Barbara, I think your squirrels must have come to my house, where they have figured out how to open the lid on the galvanized trash can to get to the birdseed.

Greener pastures = my house in squirrel talk, evidently.

Scenic Wheaton said...

I think your chubby squirrels might be eating hickory nuts. Either that or too much brie cheese.